28 Jun Targit and Dynamics NAV support group reporting in the Cross Jeans clothes company
Cross Jeans is an international clothes company seated in Turkey with multiple locations in Poland, Germany and Czech Republic. The fast growth of subsidiaries resulted in increased requirements towards its IT systems and reporting tools. In 2013, Polish and German subsidiaries almost simultaneously decided to implement the Microsoft Dynamics NAV system as a new ERP tool. For Polish implementation, IT.integro was selected as a partner.
Production and sales of jeans clothes – the main business focus of Cross Jeans
Immediate changes of the project plan
Relatively fast, the initial plan of Microsoft Dynamics NAV implementation project was changed. The main factor that brought about the modifications were reporting requirements of subsidiaries. First, the Polish subsidiary was substantially reorganized which made reporting to headquarters impossible. Therefore, instead of implementing Microsoft Dynamics NAV ERP, the subsidiary decided to implement firstly a business intelligence tool, Targit. Substantial reporting improvements led the company to commit itself to implementing Targit in Germany. For the purpose of implementation of the reporting tool in Germany, data had to be standardized in both subsidiaries. Therefore, the main project objective was to streamline the process of implementing a business intelligence tool for the whole group.
Project deployment in Cross Jeans subsidiaries in Poland and Germany
Reasons that made Cross Jeans Polska replace its ERP system
For many years, Cross Jeans, Poland had been using Asseco WF-Mag for its business accounting. Additionally, a great deal of data was stored in Excel sheets which were also used for reporting. At a certain point, this solution appeared to be limiting the potential of the company. Most of problems consisted in the quality of generated reports and efficiency of solutions used. For this reason, a decision was made to implement Microsoft Dynamics NAV ERP.
Complicated process of generating reports
Reporting was one of the primary problems. For many years, the issue had been handled only by one person (an analyst), whereas other employees did not deal with the preparation of reports at all. The analyst role involved the correction of source data stored in Asseco and Excel sheets on one side, and on the other – creation of reports for other staff members. In addition to an obvious problem which was due to concentrating these huge responsibilities and competences in hands of one person, it was also difficult to generate reports. The reporting environment consisted of 700 Excel sheets storing all data. They were used to prepare final reports required by different persons within the organization. Thus, if any data source was modified (mainly in Asseco WF-Mag) – changes had to be applied to all 700 files. Needless to say, that reports were never 100 percent correct. During monthly meetings with the company Board, data coherency and validity was frequently questioned and inconsistencies were indicated. Employees who needed reports did not understand the report generation process. On the other side, the analyst did not understand business areas which reports were generated for. This resulted in some confusion in the sales reports which could have been detected and corrected fast by the sales manager, however they were ignored by the analyst.
Implementing the Targit reporting tool in Poland
With large organizational changes in the Polish subsidiary, creating new reports based on previous principles became a huge problem. In relation to this, a decision was made to implement Business Intelligence Targit before the ERP system is implemented. Until Microsoft Dynamics NAV had been implemented, Targit was supposed to use Asseco WF-Mag data. IT.integro worked on the project in a way that would limit the cost involved in prospective switching the data source to Microsoft Dynamics NAV.
Before Targit Business Intelligence was implemented, data had to be standardized. This meant that all Asseco WF-Mag data had to be organized according to data structure within the system. For example, before, the same item was stored within the system under different numbers in different warehouses.
The implementation of Targit w Cross Jeans Polska caused a series of subsequent changes. The example is the process of generating Profitability (see: details below), which required cost recording. However, all Cross Jeans Polska accounting for tax purposes is managed by an external company in its own system.
Before Targit BI was implemented, cost accounting for analytical purposes was held internally within Excel sheets. In the course of implementation, a decision was made to transfer all cost accounting to Asseco WF-Mag. For this purpose, we have enhanced the solution with a special functionality in cooperation with the Asseco provider. Obviously, Targit can generate reports based on various sources, but in the case of Cross Jeans this solution was unfavorable for the two following reasons:
- Ultimately, it is intended that Microsoft Dynamics NAV will be used as a tool to record operational and accounting data (i.e. costs). Thus, it was essential to limit the effort required to switch from Asseco WF-Mag to Microsoft Dynamics NAV. Therefore, the current data source for the Targit tool was set up by IT.integro as similarly as possible to the one ultimately planned.
- It is much easier to correct data entered in Excel sheets than data entered in any system such as Asseco WF-Mag. Thus, by moving cost accounting to Asseco WF-Mag, reliability of reports generated in Targit was enhanced. The headquarters in Turkey to which all reports were to be sent required that historical data was not modified in time. Therefore, each monthly sales report is to display the same values notwithstanding on the report creation date. Excel sheets do not ensure any data stability in this respect.
As a result of implementation of the Targit tool, the process of creating reports is much faster and does not require any involvement of the analysis. Furthermore, employees are able to create more analyses, and data in generated reports is more reliable. Previously, the process of generating reports was even more complicated, however, it was possible to freely manipulate source data a part of which was stored in Excel worksheets. On the other hand, frequently, the complicated process of generating reports led to calculation errors. Therefore, the quality of reports improved substantially after the reporting tool, Targit BI, was implemented.
“The project in Poland was very successful. Not only were the planned objectives fulfilled, but also a variety of benefits beyond the scope of reporting were achieved. Data structuring and standardization in the Cross Jeans group is one of such benefits.
Combining OLAP cubes whic
h were designed for Cross Jeans and TARGIT Business Intelligence was an important task. Users starting from department managers, through the company Board in Poland to the Turkish owners of the Cross Jeans group, obtained fast access to data in a form of transparent reports and analyses.
The company benefited also from a variety of interfaces offered by Targit. While the customers of Cross Jeans Polska, use a classic BI client which is installed on the user’s computer, the company owners in Turkey receive selected reports on daily basis in a form of PDF files attached to e-mail messages. The implementation of a mobile Targit client for iOS and Android devices has also been recently considered.”
Implementation of Targit in Cross Jeans Germany
In spite of the fact that Microsoft Dynamics NAV was implemented by the German partner, the headquarters in Turkey did not receive any reports generated in its German subsidiary. At the same time, the Polish subsidiary would transfer its sales data on daily basis, although Microsoft Dynamics NAV had not been implemented there until that moment! Therefore, Cross Jeans decided to standardize data (dictionaries) within the group.
Earlier, all analytics was based on various parameters such as seasons, items which vary with cuts, sizes, colors etc. As various types of data were implemented in countries without no coordination, there was no uniform data standard within the group. Therefore, because an analytical tool for the whole group was to be implemented, data standardization became a must. It involved the adoption of a common nomenclature for both divisions.
The previous attempts to coordinate the adoption of the common nomenclature ended up with a failure. A part of data, particularly data related to all items produced by the headquarters in Turkey was shared, because the headquarters used to assign specific numbers to such items. Independently from one another, subsidiaries created their own data sets such as seasons, variants, etc.
Because, the implementation of the reporting tool in Poland has already been finished, in this area the Polish subsidiary is more advanced and better structured, thus has also a leading position in the implementation of group reporting. All subsidiaries agreed that Przemysław Madejski (COO of the Polish subsidiary) is to take the position of Data Standardization Project Manager and will be responsible for the implementation of the Targit reporting tool in Germany.
Daily Sales – a comprehensive sales report
Daily sales – is a comprehensive and complex report, designed in Targit, which on daily basis offers an insight into previous day sales. Each morning a report is generated and sent to the headquarters. When the report is verified, the headquarters send their comments, however these comments do not describe only data inconsistencies and incoherencies but also indicate the reasons for improper data results, including data sources. Sample dimension groups which enable report analysis:
- Location: analysis according to sales channels such as outlet stores, multi-brand (sales representatives, deposit stores, export (foreign dispatch), online stores), retail, kermes, store/city/country based analysis.
- Financial results: analysis based on the net sales volume, average price, monthly sales results, monthly, gross profit, margin etc. planned and actual budget, gross profit and margins etc.
- Assortment: analyses based on article names, assortment, color, brand, cut, sex, size, producer, item group, season, customer group ect.
- Other analyses based on discount type, warehouse data, invoice date, invoice number, season etc.
- Possible comparisons – current vs previous year, current vs previous month.
Daily Sales – one of the most important reports used by Cross Jeans. It is generated each day morning, it shows sales results with a huge amount of details.
Profitability – sales against costs
This is an additional advanced sales report, but in a different aggregation. Beside sales data, it displays costs such as lease, remuneration, etc. which are recorded for each store, sales representative. Such overviews are designed for net profit analyses.
More efficient reporting
The most important organizational improvement resulting from Targit implementation referred to reporting. Previously, all reporting tasks were handled by one person. Presently, each Targit user is able to prepare their own report for their own purposes. The result is that dependency from the analyst has been substantially limited, however on the other hand this stimulates the increase of the amount of analyses performed within the company.
If employees do not have to order each report and wait for it, they are able to generate reports and analysis for specific business areas whenever needed, they are more likely to analyze data and take greater responsibility for the company. Currently, Cross Jeans Board members (CEO and CFO) use Targit to create their own reports.
Owing to Targit, no analyst is needed to generate the report. Raports are created by stakeholders themselves. Thus, report generation is no longer the main task but it is the analysis.
“Before Targit was implemented, we used to wait until the analyst prepares a report several hours and even the whole day. Additionally, particularly with new reports, employees who requested for analyses did not know exactly what they wanted. When a new report is created, some experimenting is always necessary.
Only when the requesting person receives a data set, is he/she able to notice that some data distort the results and some adjustment is needed. Previously, it was also the analyst who adjusted the report, so more time was required to prepare a final report.
Targit offers unlimited experimenting capabilities for analysis results. It is due to the fact that it is no longer the analysts but all users who generate the report. Needless to say, reports are created only within 2-4 seconds. Therefore, it is possible to trace the results of changes made in real time. Earlier, as much as an hour was required”
Enhanced data quality and reliability
Enhanced data quality and reliability including data coherence is a key factor for decision accuracy. Therefore, for example after the launch of a new marketing camping, Cross Jeans has gained not only the ability to view its results as early as on the next day, but also the confidence that all available data is very accurate. Such confidence which is based on firm data enables the company to make more courageous decisions.
The problem low data quality is not only that companies make inaccurate decisions using this data. What is also crucial, is the fact that no decisions can be made without reliable data. Such an approach is just the contrary of Targit’ mottoTargit: Courage to act. In Cross Jeans Poland, this decision deadlock was particularly evident in the sales department. As Przemysław Madejski (COO) says „the pace of change is incredible in the clothes industry.
Our sales department has to react very spontaneously and respond to activities of our market competence, market trends, and sudden changes of fashion design preferences or climate fluctuations. If, for example, winter is warmer than expected, demand for types of clothes different from these available in stores appears. What is needed in this situation, it is information which will enable us to quickly adjust the assortment to customer’s needs.
Obviously, because our sales department had to wait for any reports very long, it could not respond as soon as it does now. It can be said that such an agile and flexible tool as Targit enables our sales department to keep working constantly on the move, regardless of changes, with spontaneity of the clothes industry. It is possible as all decision–critical data is available at once.
Reduced load on the SQL database
One of the problems that Cross Jeans Polska had to challenge was the load of queries which have to be processed within the database when reports are generated. They were frequently such a huge workload for a database that they decreased the performance of the system which was simultaneously used by stores and warehouses.
Each time the analyst retrieved data for reporting purposes, the IT department would receive phone calls from stores that were not able to issue receipts or from the warehouse unable to process all operations. For, Targit implementation IT.integro had to prepare OLAP cubes, which are used for generating reports. OLAP cubes are updated each night. Thus, when reports are created in Targit the SQL database is not overloaded. On the other hand, data recorded on the previous day is up-to-dated on time.
A simplified schema showing the distinction between the transactions and reporting functions in Cross Jeans Polska after the reporting tool Targit was implemented. Due to such architecture, the efficiency of the SQL database, within which store transactions, warehouse operations as well as posted invoiced are recorded, has improved substantially. This improvement occurred at the time when the number and complexity of generated reports rocketed as a result of the implementation of the Business Intelligence tool.
Report for the Board’s meetings
Before Targit was implemented, preparing and participation in Board meetings was a big challenge for the Polish subsidiary of Cross Jeans. As Przemysław Madejski says: Targit is also an excellent tool used at meetings with the Board. In Cross Jeans, such meetings focus on the estimation of high sales volumes.
The possibility to generate various reports very fast substantially facilitates the meeting process. Previously, switching from one report to the other would take a few minutes. Taking into account, a huge number of products to be discussed, such a pace was unacceptable. Additionally, what is also a great advantage of Targit, it is a list of reports defined by IT.integro which are used at monthly meetings with the Board.
Before, a typical presentation would consist of 200 slides with various reports which were prepared beforehand from scratch each time and always contained some inconsistencies. Presently, the whole series of such reports is defined and prepared within Targit and can be presented without any additional effort at each meeting with the Board. One of the most important features of such reports is their interactivity.
Whenever the Board wants to view details, it is possible to drill down the data within the analysis, because all reports are displayed directly from Targit. All data is available at hand.
Sample slides of presentations for the Board. Before the implementation of Targit, the analyst and delegated Cross Jeans employees had to prepare approximately 200 report slides from scratch. Presently, during Board meetings Targit is launched to instantly display all required data (slides).
It should be emphasized that the quality of reports generated for the Board has been substantially improved by shifting the responsibility from the analyst to delegated employees within each department who have better understanding of report data and are able to identify errors. Due to a variety reports from various departments to handle, it was impossible for the analyst to fully comprehend the meaning of report numbers.
Targit – user-friendly environment
As Przemysław Madejski says: Within 6-7 months since the implementation of Targit in Cross Jeans Polska, the sales department has completely switched to Targit, limiting the use of Asseco WF Mag, which is still used as a main system for recoding all business transactions within the organization.
Obviously, the tasks of the accounting and warehouse system such as Asseco WF-Mag are completely different from these of a Business Intelligence tool such as Targit. However, the approach of our sales department towards the tool proves its usability, speed and user-friendliness.
Positive changes in business processes
The implementation of the reporting tool stimulated positive changes within business processes, including the areas which are not related to reporting directly. This means improved quality and structure of data. The process of cost accounting was also optimized: the procedures on how to create the cost structure and record costs were defined and employees responsible for recording costs with their user rights were specified.
The setup and definitions of cost categories were also implemented. Changes were also introduced within inventory management. By default, in Asseco WF-Mag items would be defined with various parameters depending on the warehouse. In large organizations such as Cross Jeans, this solution would generate lots of inconsistencies.
Customer: Cross Jeans
Cross Polska Sp. z o.o. is a subsidiary of a Turkish company Cross Jeans Corporation with its business seat in Istanbul which has been operating on the clothes market since 1939. The company’s focus is production and distribution of high-quality jeans and casual clothes in Germany, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovenia. The Polish subsidiary of Cross Jeans launched its business operations in 1991.
Presently, the company distributes its products to domestic multi-brand stores in Poland. Cross Jeans assortment includes various types of jeans clothes such as trousers, skirts, jackets, and casual clothes such as: T-shirts, sweatshirts, sweaters as well as accessories such as belts, jewelry, socks, bags, backpacks etc.
Cross Jeans Polska has recently started the process of creating a new distribution network based on its own brand and franchise stores. Therefore, the company has been enlarging its network in shopping malls in Poland (for its own stores) and in the main shopping streets (for its franchise chain).
IT.integro specializes in Microsoft business management software. The company belongs to the group of the most important partners of Microsoft Corporation in the world. As a first company in Poland, it was awarded the premium partner title for ERP systems i.e. Microsoft GOLD Enterprise Resource Planning Partner.
IT.integro is one of the few companies in Poland which were invited to Microsoft Dynamics President’s Club – a group of the most strategic Microsoft partners. It is also one of the three companies in Poland which were invited to the elite Microsoft Dynamics Inner Circle club – an association of key Microsoft partners whose achievements rank them in the highest echelon of the Microsoft Dynamics global network of partners. There are only 70 of such companies worldwide.
IT.integro’s leading position among Polish providers that implement the Microsoft Dynamics NAV solution was confirmed by the fact that since 2006 it has been awarded continuously the Partner of the Year title.
An experienced team of consultants as well as technical support department ensure safety and comfort of our clients. We have obtained all necessary certificates and wide competences, not only in the scope of the ERP system, but also for Business Intelligence solutions, server and database platforms as well as system integration. Among Business Intelligence solutions, IT.integro offers implementation and support services for Targit.